Moore’s law, named after Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, implied computing power would double every two years. This did hold true for 40years contributing immensely to availability of computing power to enterprises and individuals alike and the consequent gains in productivity. However, this law hasn’t kept pace in the recent past fazed by physical limitations. Does that mean that we should be prepared for more modest progress in technology going forward? Whilst there is hope through specialist chips to cloud computing to quantum computing, the strongest prospects emerge from a geo-political angle where the US and China driven by national pride and interest spend their way to finding the next big thing.

At the ERI’s launch in San Francisco, Kristen Baldwin, a deputy director at the Department of Defense, made it clear that the US was now in a computing race with China. “We want to align our common needs to counter China’s desire to be the pre-eminent leader in next generation semiconductors,” she said. Chip design is becoming an urgent matter of US national strategic interest, as well as intense commercial rivalry, which may yet be good news for all computer users. Historically, superpower competition has been a great way of spurring innovation.

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